I am in search of the rare, elusive coronavirus shot, One must be quick to catch it before it flies away or is snatched by another. I come armed with the knowledge that neighbors in the next state, who do not believe in the coronavirus, just had their first shots. Everyone on Facebook apparently has had their shot, so I was ready. That was when things started to go wildly wrong.
Here is how it works. A person has to have a computer. Then, that person has to know how to find a place to sign up. How hard could that be?
I knew my way around computers as the troubleshooter when a major medical center implemented their mainframe system. I even invented the original patient chart, but my confidence was a sad joke. This system played a mean game.
My first move, it told me, was to register. But first, it pried my deepest secrets in barter for registering. The system laughed and then forced me to start an account, create a password it liked. I found 123 was out. So was my name or a film producer’s brother’s name before he changed it.
Give me some numbers, the system demanded. Now some characters, too. No, not that character, a different one. The system still was not finished with me. It gave me an evil grin and made me write my password twice. And was it ever irritable when the two did not match.
Finally, the big heavy doors to the coronavirus vaccine opened for me. But my relief was oh so short-lived. I found myself learning how many doses in each bottle, how New York City handled their ER patients, and how America’s troubles with the virus began on a cruise ship. Did I have to how to make the darned stuff, too?
At long last, I was able to pick my group. First group? Nope. Second group? Jackpot!
But the system tricked me into going down the rabbit hole of signing up for a coronavirus test. Luckily, I barely managed to escape before it took me to Alice in Wonderland’s big mushroom.
The system just laughed and told me to look at a barren state map. Only one grocery store had them. I clicked on it and found myself in the produce aisle. Back up. The next click took me to a 14-page minuscule-print agreement that said they never saw me. The system coaxed me to skip way down and just sign the damned thing! Okay, fine.
Little did I know, I had to do this for every place that might offer a shot. I ended up trying to please three hospitals, my county health department, one pharmacy, and a different grocery store. The first one didn’t like me.
I had to go to each of these locations every hour to see if their vaccines had arrived. Then, of course, it snowed. All the trucks bearing the vaccine gold were stranded in a land far, far away. Probably Texas.
Immediately, the system played another cruel game with me, Guess Who Has a Shot. I sat in my house, all alone, in the dark playing until my fingers grew numb and started dropping off. Oops, too bad, the system just handed out the last of 12 vaccination appointments. SOL (sorry out of luck).
Then, much to my surprise, a hospital invited me to get their shot. The system was giving me an appointment! I pulled over to the side of the road, slapped on my flashers, and gave this wonderful hospital every once of my devoted attention.
I had ignition. The system led me through a complex series of screens asking everything up to and including the name of my first-born child. I had to swear that I was not lying. How does that work, I wondered. At long last, the system sent me a warm fuzzy confirmation email.
Oh no, the system said. You have to go through a 30-minute pre-registering event. It demanded photos of my drivers’ license, front and back, my insurance card front and back, and my Panera’s gift card front and back.
Of course, the system could not suck up my photos.
At last, after treating me so badly, the system smiled upon me and asked if I wanted it to go to my calendar in case I couldn’t remember the time for 24 hours. Oh, yes, thank you!
The system sent me to hell and gone, but I had a car and I can drive unimpaired — usually. At the front desk, the young woman was stunned. Vaccine? What vaccines?
She assured me I must have signed up for a coronavirus test. Oh, no. I took out my phone and showed her my confirmation. Her manager said this had happened more than once and offered me a magic number.
A real live person told me that I did not exist. Not only that, their clinic I was parked outside of did not exist either. Maybe she was right.
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.